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The Future of Consuming

Hate waiting in lines or navigating through crowds at the grocery story? Loathe trying on clothes and accessories? Want to make the most of your time at all times? The good news is there are technology breakthroughs poised to make your shopping experiences easier and quicker!

In South Korea a genius solution is in place to maximize your time when waiting for a subway. A new solution uses augmented reality to bring the supermarket to you so you can shop while you wait. Called E-Marts, these virtual stores are stocked by supermarkets like European grocery store giant Tesco and Home Plus – but they sell their goods via interactive pictures on subway platforms.

Not only does this solution provide convenience for shoppers but it also has significant impact for the supermarkets. When launched the online sales for the providers increased by 130%. This sales leap was realized without any additional infrastructure from the providers. Imagine growing your business without having to open another store front, hiring additional staff, or maintaining another warehouse for inventory.

This isn’t the only breakthrough poised to transform our shopping experiences. For anyone who loathes searching the racks, hitting the dressing room and (ugh) trying on clothes there is a solution on the horizon. One of my fellow bloggers, Marlowe Fenne, wrote a great post on how Cisco solutions are the backbone for making this concept a reality. Read More »

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AR Gets Smart and Goes 3D

Augmented reality was all the hype in 2011 but today many feel it may be losing its appeal due to laggy performance , most agree it will be quite some time before it used widely by the mainstream.

However some recent news shines a spot light on how augmented reality is evolving and becoming more appealing to the majority.

There are some devices on or coming on the market that enable 3D…drum roll…without the glasses! Many of these are handheld devices such as the Nintendo 3DS and the LG Optimus 3D smart phone which both leverage AR to enable some engaging end user experiences such as:

  1.  The Nintendo 3DS comes with a packet of AR cards that enable you to play games such as Archery, AR Shots, Fishing and more. Using the system’s camera to read the cards and then  project the games onto any flat surface such as your desk or hand.


  1. Wikitude will deploy a 3D AR browser on the LG Optimus 3D. Using the phone’s built-in GPS to locate your position, the camera displays your current view on the screen and icons are overlaid providing information on your surroundings.

 These are really positive advances for 3D and AR but they still require that AR marker to scan or rely on GPS in order to deliver the AR experience. That is why Sony’s SmartAR announcement is truly exciting as it requires no marker in order to deliver the AR experience. Read More »

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Honeycomb: How Sweet It Is

I have blogged before regarding tablets and their ability to enable rich virtual experiences. Of course a device is only as good as its’ operating system and software. I was talking tablets with a friend a while ago and asked their opinion on the Android operating system for tablets and got a frowny face response. Now this is someone I respect and believe knows a lot more about technology solutions than I, so I was a little surprised to say the least because I believe the Android operating system is going to revolutionize the tablet experience. Naturally I asked why and the response made a lot of sense, “Because Android wasn’t created with the tablet experience in mind and it shows.”

So needless to say I was abundantly pleased to see Google is addressing this head on, ala Android 3.0 or Honeycomb. At first read it does appear to be a ‘how sweet it is’ solution.

The first thing most people, who have had the ability to experience Honeycomb, note is that it is light years from the Android OS currently on smartphones. Some predict that Honeycomb may convert those folks who were turned off by Android previously and if you like Android all ready, Honeycomb should keep your sweet tooth engaged. According to JR Raphael a Computerworld blogger, “The potential for customization that Android power users love is still there. But for folks who are less technically-inclined — less geeky, if you will — things definitely feel less complicated.”

Personally I am excited by what Renderscript could mean for 3D and augmented reality break throughs…In a nutshell Renderscript is a new API that will enable high-performance 3D rendering as well as compute operations. Renderscript is device agnostic, meaning the scripts created via Renderscript are compiled to a machine code and are therefore made to be optimized based on the device the script is running on.

Read More »

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Augmenting with Tablets

What happens when you take two of the hottest trends, tablets and augmented reality, and merge them? What happens is you get some very cool examples of how the right device with the right application can change the way you experience life.

There is no doubt that tablets will have a huge effect on learning. For example the Natural History Museum in London just released an interactive film called Who Do You Think You Really Are?

According to the musuem’s blog post:

For the first time ever, you can bring a dinosaur and an early human to life before your eyes with the totally unique, state-of-the-art interactive film Who do you think you really are?, now on show in the Attenborough Studio at the Natural History Museum.

Guided by Sir David Attenborough, Who do you think you really are? uses 3 independent screens, web cams and specially designed handheld devices that allow you to take part in a virtual journey back through your evolutionary past to where extinct creatures will appear to roam around you in the studio.

The interactive film uses a mix of CGI models developed with support of the Wellcome Trust, BBC natural history footage and interviews with leading Natural History Museum scientists to explore how we have gradually evolved from the earliest life form.

Thanks to an innovative partnership with BBC Research & Development, this is be the first time augmented reality – the blending of computer graphics into real life – is used in a high profile public space in this way.

It is also safe to say that tablets will be integrated into entertainment experiences and featured in film, music videos and more. The Black Eyed Pease feature the Blackberry Playbook in one of their latest music videos. They use the Playbook to render cartoon images on buildings/walls into moving animations. Check out the below video and you will see the start of the augmented reality example at about 2:15 into the video.

It is also clear that the tablet market will not be dominated by the iPad in the future. With more than half a dozen new tablets being introduced in the last few months the marketplace is evolving at a rapid pace. Some examples of the more dominant players are below (except the Blackberry Playbook which is shown in the above video) with a video featuring augmented reality on the tablet example. Read More »

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At the Peak of Inflated Expectations, is AR OK?

I am sure you readers are familiar with the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. On October 7 Gartner released the latest rev and here were my key takeaways after reviewing all the dots in depth. 

“The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies features technologies that are the focus of attention in the IT industry because of particularly high levels of hype, or those that may not be broadly acknowledged but which we believe have the potential for significant impact,” said Jackie Fenn, vice president and Gartner Fellow. 

FIRST I am happy to see 3D flat panel TVs and displays in the 2-5 year mainstream adoption category, even if they were at the peak of inflated expectations portion of the graph. 

“High-impact technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2010 include private cloud computing, augmented reality, media tablets (such as the iPad), wireless power, 3D flat-panel TVs and displays, and activity streams, while cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among enterprise users,” Ms. Fenn said. 

SECOND I was bummed to see AR tracking in the 5-10 year mainstream adoption category. Anyone who has read this blog previously knows that AR is something I am passionate about. I just see endless use cases for this technology that would definitely affect the way we live, work and play. I thought some of the recent buzz around AR might enable the technology to leap frog a few years and land in the 2-5 year category along with 3D. I mean seriously I have read about a half dozen articles on AR in the past month or so and from what I see everyone reporting was still in the ‘we heart AR’ camp. A few weeks ago I read an article about a couple of recent AR marketing efforts showing strong results. For example:  Read More »

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